Although it has always been remarkably popular, the Pokemon franchise has gone through an unprecedented period of success following the release of Pokemon Go for smartphones. The fact that the game was able to become one of the most popular apps of all time and jump to the top of charts in almost every country in the world helps to demonstrate the sheer fascination and popularity that the series can command.
What makes these recent accomplishments even more impressive is that fact that Pokemon is essentially a franchise that has been created specifically for children. The target audience is clearly meant to be people of the younger persuasion, despite the fact that it has retained a large number of older fans. After all, the cute nature of the creatures, the colorful visuals, and the kid's cartoon all point to Pokemon being something that Nintendo and The Pokemon Company are aiming at a child audience.
It may be surprising to learn then that the franchise is not all that particularly kid-friendly. There are plenty of aspects of Pokemon that seem out of place considering the target audience. Whether it is the sinister plotlines of some of the games or the dark secrets hinted at in the anime, the series has always had a slightly ominous feeling about it. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Pokemon creatures themselves – with many of them being far from the cute and cuddly animals they appear to be. In fact, some of them are downright terrifying, as you will find out.
Cacturne, as its name and look might suggest, is essentially just a sentient cactus. It also somewhat resembles a scarecrow, giving it an extra dose of creepiness. Surrounded by sharp spikes and with the ability to last for a long time in the harsh sandy environments it lives in, this Pokemon is a formidable opponent.
The Pokedex entry from Pokemon Sapphire states that: “If a traveler is going through a desert in the thick of night, Cacturne will follow in a ragtag group. The Pokémon are biding their time, waiting for the traveler to tire and become incapable of moving.” What Cacturne then does to the travelers it is stalking is not made clear but it seems obvious it is not something good and won’t be particularly pleasant for those involved. After all, nothing good ever came from being pursued by a group of intelligent cacti in the desert.
While there are very few mentions of Pokemon attacking or harming humans in any of the various mediums that make up the franchise, there are a few exceptions. One of these is Draglage, a poison and dragon type Pokemon that first made an appearance in X & Y. Resembling the types of creature that real-life sailors would fear, it is responsible for killing large numbers of humans that pass through its territory. This is because it will spit an incredibly strong acid at anything that comes close enough, burning massive holes in the sides of ships and tankers so that they sink to the bottom of the ocean.
This makes it strikingly similar to another Pokemon known as Jellicent. While it looks pretty friendly, this jellyfish-like creature has a sinister reputation as any ship that went into its habitat would never be seen again – making their homes much like the Bermuda Triangle and something that sailors would desperately try to avoid.
Some people might think that forcing animals to fight is something that is a pretty terrifying thing to do in the first place. After all, many Pokemon are capable of using extremely powerful attacks and they do faint and need hospital treatment to recover. However, it gets even worse when you consider Pokemon like Houndoom.
The dog-like creature is able to use fire attacks such as flamethrower against all of its opponents. The Pokedex entry for Houndoom in Pokemon Gold also makes clear that anyone who is burnt by the flames of the creature will never fully heal and the victim will suffer pain for the rest of their lives. Luckily, Pokemon very rarely attack humans in the franchise but if it causes never ending pain in humans is it just as likely to do that against its fellow animals, meaning any Pokemon attacked by Houndoom will be in constant agony from its burns.
Xatu is rare in the world of Pokemon as it is a dual-type creature that combines elements of both flying and psychic. Introduced to the series in the second generation of Gold & Silver, it looks like a noble bird that is deep in thought on first impressions.
However, the bird is not just thinking very hard but hiding a more menacing secret. It is capable of seeing into both the past and future with its eyes. This causes Xatu to stay almost constantly still as it contemplates everything that has ever happened and all of the many terrors that are going to happen in the future. It is essentially frightened to move in fear of causing its visions of the future from becoming reality. Even scarier is the fact that this means it knows when it and its trainer will die.
Kadabra is probably one of the most recognizable Pokemon having appeared in the very first games. The psychic creature has a number of unique powers and abilities, being able to unleash massive amounts of psychic energy onto enemies and objects. Anyone near the Pokemon will suffer from immense headaches thanks to the fact it constantly emits alpha waves from its brain, which also cause other effects such as making clocks run backwards.
It is not these aspects that make Kadabra such a fearsome prospect but a little-known fact that appears in several Pokedex entries across a few games. According to these pieces of information, one particular Kadabra transformed from an ordinary boy who was working on psychic experiments. The entry states: “it happened one morning - a boy with extrasensory powers awoke in bed transformed into Kadabra.”
It’s hard not to be freaked out by Banette. It is a ghost Pokemon, which automatically gives it a daunting persona thanks to the fact that it has to feed on the energy of living things. Not to mention the freakish look it has. Styled to look like a marionette doll with a zipper for a mouth and a creepy face, it is easily capable of inspiring fear into anyone who sees it in the video games or the anime.
The truly frightening thing about Banette is that it is so full of hatred and rage. The Pokemon was once a real toy that was discarded by the owner and it is that rejection that drove the toy into becoming a living creature driven on by an immense grudge. It is capable of cursing others by using its own body as a voodoo doll to inflict pain and spends most of its time searching for the person who threw it away so that it can get its revenge.
There are plenty of Pokemon that seem to have somehow fused with the spirit or soul of a person who has since passed away. Yet, out of all of them, Yamask is by far the creepiest. Introduced in Pokemon Black & White, it is a ghost and shadow Pokemon that carries around a mask at all times. While this may look fairly scary itself, it becomes even more terrifying when you consider that the mask is actually the face of a dead human.
Yamask is essentially the ghost of a person who died a long time ago and turned into a Pokemon. The creature will possess anyone who wears the mask that it carries and it can often be found wandering around the ruins of ancient civilizations as if it is longing to return to its own previous life. Finally, Yamask can often be found staring at the face and weeping at the life it used to have as a human.
Cofagrigus is described as the “Coffin Pokemon” thanks to the fact it is modelled on an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus. Considering it was based on cursed tombs and is the evolution of the equally monstrous Yamask, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that it is high on the terror scale. The sheer looks of this particular creature are frightening and it is certainly something that you wouldn’t want to come across when walking alone in the dark.
That is not the worse part about Cofagrigus however. The Pokemon, which lives in tombs and old ruins, would lurk in the shadows and attack any human unfortunate enough to get too close. It would then proceed to eat and kill the human, before turning their lifeless body into a mummy that would be left in the tomb.
Aron is very different from many of the other entries in this list. For one, it hardly looks like the scariest Pokemon that has ever been created. Granted, it doesn’t exactly look adorable but it hardly strikes terror into the hearts of anyone who sees it. It does have some very special properties that make it frightening in certain circumstances.
For starters, Aron weighs an incredible 130 pounds despite the fact that it is just over a foot tall. This probably has something to do with the fact it is a rock and steel Pokemon, which also helps to explain its odd diet of iron ore. It trawls through mountains digging out the metal to consume. In extreme cases of hunger, though, it is capable of coming down from the mountains and eating railway tracks, cars, and even trucks in one sitting.
Known as a “Balloon Pokemon”, Drifloon is a spherical creature that closely resembles the item it is named after. According to information from the anime and the video games, it is the lost spirits of other Pokemon and people who created it, as Drifloon is actually a ghost-type creature. Despite looking harmless, it also has a rather unfortunate side that sees it tricking children into thinking it is a balloon so that it can take them away.
While the Europeans and United States version of games only say that Drifloon is attempting to steal children away, the Japanese edition makes the intention of the Pokemon very clear. The creature is actually taking the children to the world of the dead or the underworld, effectively meaning that it purposely targets and kills innocent children.
Gyarados is one of the most iconic Pokemon in the entire series. This is due to the fact that it has a unique look, is one of the original 151 creatures from the first generation of games, and evolves from the infamously useless Magikarp. The huge sea dragon weighs more than 500 pounds and stands at a height of 21 feet, as well as being capable of crushing rocks and steel with its jaws.
While it would be truly horrifying to see such a creature in real life, what makes Gyarados so scary is its terrible temper. It is fascinated with violence and attracted to situations where conflict is likely. If it goes into a rage it is capable of destroying entire cities as it demolishes every single thing in its path. These destructive rampages can last up to a month and may be the result of a brain transformation that leads to a wildly violent nature.
This legendary Pokemon is a dual-type that combines elements of both ghost and dragon. Taking inspiration from gothic art it looks rather disgusting on its own, nevermind the fact that it appears to be modelled on some sort of cross between a giant centipede, a bat, a snake, and a huge spider. Combined together, these elements display a creature that is one of the scariest in the whole of the franchise to look at.
Giratina also has the ability to travel between dimensions by emitting a special whirlwind from its mouth and is known to be highly aggressive, going to extreme lengths to protect its territory. Most horrifying of all is the fact that it “was banished for its violence” – an impressive feat considering some of the other Pokemon that have faced no such consequences. That means Giratina must be capable of committing awful acts that require such a harsh punishment.
Any Pokemon that has been specifically styled to look like the Grim Reaper was always likely to have some alarming properties. Duskull is also full of all kinds of tricks that it can use in the pursuit of its prey or enemies. The Pokemon can pass through any wall regardless of how thick it is and can make itself completely invisible so that it can sneak up on victims without being seen. Once it has chosen a target, it is believed that it will continue to chase them until daybreak.
Unfortunately, this particular Pokemon also has something of a fascination with small children. According to Pokemon Platinum, Duskull loves to hear the sound of children crying and will intentionally float through walls to startle kids into weeping. Even worse is the fact that it is also said to find young people who have been naughty and take them away from the parents.
While pumpkins aren’t exactly meant to be adorable, they have become somewhat cute thanks to their association with Halloween as people attempt to carve them into all types of objects and shapes. With Gourgeist, it seems that the developers have set about attempting to make pumpkins terrifying once again as they were originally intended to be.
It is understandable that some Pokemon might cause harm to their fellow creatures, or even humans in some cases, none of them seem to do for any reason other than defense or needing to acquire food. Gourgeist is very different from these. The Pokemon seems to rejoice in causing suffering and evil in others. Various Pokedex entries make it clear that, after it wraps up its victims in tight tendrils, it proceeds to sing joyfully as they struggle with the pain.
Like many of the other legendary Pokemon that appear in the various different mediums, Yveltal is incredibly powerful and capable of expressing tremendous abilities. However, this particular example, that was revealed in X & Y, has a power greater than almost any other Pokemon that has ever appeared in the series.
What makes Yveltal such a monstrous Pokemon is the fact that it essentially kills all living things when it dies, or as the Pokedex itself puts it: “when its life comes to an end, it absorbs the life energy of every living thing and turns into a cocoon once more.” It does this so that it can continually revive itself and ensure it never truly succumbs to death, sacrificing all other living creatures in the process, regardless of how evolved or intelligent they are. In Pokemon X & Y, Team Flare were attempting to take advantage of this fact by committing genocide by forcing Yveltal to go into its cocoon stage.